"We have played better quarterbacks than him," Johnson told reporters during Tuesday's media session in advance of the playoff game between his Tigers and Ohio State. "I'm not taking anything away from him. I don't think he is a bad player. He is definitely a good player, but he does not stand out as one of the best quarterbacks that we have played this year."
The comment may fit the bill as bulletin board material, but Johnson has ample evidence to back up the claim. The Tigers have faced off against Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, Virginia Tech's Jerod Evans and Pitt's Nathan Peterman, all of whom have thrown for more touchdowns and posted a better passer efficiency rating than Barrett.
But Johnson also couched his commentary by noting that Barrett is a dynamic threat as an athlete, and he expects the Ohio State QB to be a challenge for Clemson's defense with his legs.
"I, actually, I feel like he is a great quarterback with his legs," Johnson said. "I don't feel real strong about his arm. I don't think he is one of the best passers. So I feel like if we can limit him on his legs and limit him in the running game, I feel like we will have a pretty good chance going against this offense because they are a run-first offense."